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October 7, 2015

The Five: Tom and Jerry

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 21st 2006 7:30AM

tom and jerryJoseph Barbera returning to Tom and Jerry to direct a brand new short got me thinking about all my favorite episodes of Tom and Jerry from the past. The famous duo starred in a ton of cartoons together, so I had to leave a few out. At any rate, here's five of my faves, friends. Grab a stick of dynamite and join in the fun:

  • The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R. - This episode took a very basic Tom and Jerry plot (Jerry tries to steal cheese, Tom tries to stop him) and jazzed it up with lots of awesome spy gear and a heavy, ominous soundtrack. As you can guess, the title comes from MGM's popular show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  • Pecos Pest - In this episode, Jerry's uncle, a famous country singer, comes to visit him and plays "Froggy's Gone A Courtin'"over and over again on his guitar.The problem is, Uncle Pecos' guitar strings keep snapping, and he keeps plucking Tom's whiskers to use as replacements. Jerry has to constantly save his oblivious uncle from Tom's wrath.
  • The Two Mouseketeers - En garde, Moussier Pussycat! Jerry and his fellow mouse friend (who is either called "Tuffy" or "Nibbles" depending on who you ask) turn a banquet table into a swashbuckling battleground as they fight against Tom.
  • The Vanishing Duck - Some of the best Tom and Jerry cartoons featured Little Quacker, a precocious little duck with a voice that was clearly supposed to emulate Donald Duck but sounded more like a five-year-old girl smoking cigarettes and inhaling helium. In this episode, Little Quacker tries to delight Tom with his a capella rendition of "Good Morning To You" before later discovering a jar of vanishing cream along with Jerry. The two put it to good use until the end when Tom finds out and gets his revenge.
  • Mouse Trouble - Tom finds a book on how to catch mice, but it turns out not to be much help. The best part of the cartoon comes when Tom sends a wind-up female mouse to lure Jerry out. The mechanical critter pops and hiccups, spouting the line "Come over and see me sometime" over and over in a sultry Mae West voice. The robot tries to lure Jerry into a hotel which is actually Tom's open mouth. This short won an Academy Award in 1944.

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My all time favorite has to be "Solid Serenade", one of the few cartoons that Tom not only talks in, but also sings.

You first see Tom singing - "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" Much to a sleeping Jerrys chagrin.

Then while romancing the female cat and being chased by Spike you hear Tom say "Ah, I love you. Ah, you set my soul on fire. It is not just a little spark. It is a flame, a big roaring flame."

January 22 2006 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

MGM shut down their animation shop, which produced "Tom & Jerry" in 1958. In 1961 and '62 the began distributing new cartoons for the series produced by Gene Deitch, who made them in Czechoslovakia. Deitch redesigned both characters. From 1963 to 1967 the characters were farmed out to another independent producer, this time Chuck Jones. Jones also redesigned the characters, particularly Jerry who was given a set of "big eyes" (a Jones favourite for characters who were supposed to be small and sympathetic). The Jones cartoons are gorgeous but are incredibly weak when it comes to story. The best cartoons of the series are probably the ones from the late 1940s and early 1950s.

January 21 2006 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the one where the father and son dog pair are bbqing/picnicing. There is a part where ants are walking in their line carrying stuff away and because of their marching (on a rope) it causes it(i think it was a hammock) to move up and down. I dunno I like that episode. And the one with Tuffy/Nibbles too. What I DON'T like are the space-agey ones. They're drawn different and sometimes they talk or something - bleh.

January 21 2006 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I recall one where Tom died and was going to hell but was given a chance to redeem himself if he had Jerry sign a contract forgiving him for all he's done. Turns out Tom was just napping near the fireplace and in the end all was back to normal.

Shame these kinds of cartoons would probably never be made now. Cause you know, kids would emulate this behaviour and start hitting each other with iron fireplace pokers and stuff.

January 21 2006 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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